People who suffer from chronic nerve pain have traditionally had few options for relief. Unfortunately, opioid medication is often completely ineffective at relieving this type of pain. Thankfully, people with chronic nerve pain have a new option for pain control in the form of ketamine infusions.
Ketamine blocks the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in your brain, which are often overly excitable in people who have chronic nerve pain. Blocking these receptors can significantly reduce the level of pain that you experience, and the effects continue for quite some time after the ketamine infusion has been performed. If you're interested in undergoing ketamine therapy for chronic nerve pain, read on to find out what you can expect during the procedure.
What Happens During Ketamine Therapy?
When you undergo ketamine therapy, a nurse will insert an IV line into your arm that's connected to an infusion bag containing ketamine. The ketamine slowly drips out of the bag and into your bloodstream. During this process, you'll either be sitting in a comfortable chair or laying in a bed.
The process of inserting an IV line is rarely painful, and in most cases, it will hurt less than receiving your annual flu shot. You will, however, be connected to it for the entire ketamine infusion process, which will limit your mobility.
Ketamine therapy, when it's used for chronic nerve pain, can take quite a bit of time compared to when it's used for treatment-resistant depression. In some cases, you may be connected to your IV line for up to six hours.
What Does Ketamine Therapy Feel Like?
People vary in their reactions to ketamine therapy. For many people, it's very comforting and the pain relief is almost immediate. Tiredness and dizziness are very common side effects. Because of the dizziness, it's important that you remain laying down or seated during the infusion. If you need to use the bathroom, use the nurse call button to ask for assistance.
Nausea is a common side effect when people are undergoing ketamine therapy. If you experience severe nausea, tell the nurse. The ketamine clinic can add ondansetron to your IV bag in order to significantly reduce the nausea that you experience.
Minor hallucinations sometimes occur during ketamine therapy. While these aren't dangerous, they can be concerning for some people. If you experience hallucinations and they make you uncomfortable, tell the staff at the clinic. Your ketamine dose or the rate of infusion can be lowered in order to minimize the chances of hallucinations occurring.
How Should You Entertain Yourself During Ketamine Therapy?
Since you can potentially be connected to your IV line for six hours, it's a good idea to bring some way of entertaining yourself. It's best to listen to relaxing music or watch something simple like nature documentaries. Ketamine can make it difficult for you to follow anything complex. You can't sleep during ketamine therapy, but you can close your eyes and relax. Most people find that the procedure goes by quite quickly, and they're relieved that their nerve pain is significantly diminished.
If you suffer from chronic nerve pain, ketamine therapy can help. While the procedure can last for a few hours, it's tolerated well by the majority of people. If you experience nausea or hallucinations, you can tell the staff at the clinic to add anti-nausea medications to your IV bag or to reduce your ketamine dosage, so you don't have to worry about feeling uncomfortable.
If you'd like to try ketamine therapy to relieve your chronic nerve pain, call a ketamine infusion clinic in your area and schedule an appointment. You and the physician will go over your medical history together in order to determine whether or not this therapy is the right choice for you.